Civic Service #52: Introduction

Edmonton’s Civic Service Union 52: A Century of Service – download the booklet (PDF)

In 2009, Edmonton’s Civic Service Union #52 celebrated its 100th Anniversary, represented the City’s ‘inside workers’ since 1909, three years longer than Edmonton was officially a city. The early years were difficult for the young association, as labour laws severely restricted the ability of public sector workers to form unions and bargain collectively; in fact, it would not be until the mid-1960’s that this right would be fully recognized in law. The first agreement between the Town of Edmonton and the young association was only one page long, and mostly reinforced in writing rights and entitlements the workers already had.

On April 15, 1918, the Association, now know as the Civic Service Union 52, affiliated with the National Union of Public Employees (NUPE) and received its charter from the Trades and Labour Congress of Canada. It became a Local of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) in 1963, after NUPE merged with the National Union of Public Service Employees (NUPSE). The Union retained its self-servicing structure, however, and in 1978, disaffiliated from CUPE completely after a disastrous strike combined with some longstanding differences.

Today, the 4000-member union represents technical, professional, administrative and clerical workers employed directly by the City of Edmonton, as well as many of the same occupational classifications in the Edmonton Public Library (EPL), Telus World of Science – Edmonton (TWOSE), EPCOR – Edmonton and Capital Power.

ALHI members worked closely with the CSU 52 Centennial Committee in preparations which included the collection of photographs and other historical resources, compilation of a History Book, and a number of interviews with leading members that are available on this page. Centennial activities were capped by a sparkling gala attended by hundreds of members, City officials and union colleagues. Interviews with other members of the Union are still taking place and will be posted to this page when they become available.